BAY ST. LOUIS -- A man who held Jackson police at bay for five hours before his capture has been set for trial on child sex-crime charges in Hancock County Circuit Court.
Melvin Patrick Mason is set for trial Aug. 18 on 10 counts of touching of a child for lustful purposes and three counts of sexual battery. The charges allege he molested a girl who was under the age of 14.
Mason, 44, had been listed as one of South Mississippi's most-wanted criminal suspects because of those charges in 2012. After his name appeared in the Sun Herald series, federal marshals received a tip and found him hiding in a closet at a Gulfport apartment.
Mason was arrested and was released on bond. He showed up for his arraignment at the Hancock County Courthouse on Feb. 10 but slipped out while waiting for a court-ordered test for possible drug use.
Circuit Judge John Gargiulo revoked Mason's bond and signed a warrant for his arrest. Three days later, a tip led Jackson's Violent Crime Task Force to a home where they said Mason's girlfriend and another woman live. Officials said Mason barricaded himself inside.
The FBI's Hostage Negotiation Team convinced him to release a woman from the house but Mason wouldn't come out, officials said. After a five-hour standoff, a SWAT team retrieved him.
Mason was brought to the Hancock County jail, where he is held with no bond.
He was taken before the judge on Tuesday. Mason waived arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty in the waiver.
If convicted on all 13 counts, Mason faces up to 240 years in prison.